October 3, 2019 by Dr. Kyle Varner in Bariatric Surgery , Obesity

The traditional weight loss model and the one that most fad diets have been based on is to cut caloric intake and increase calorie burn. All you need to do is that and you’ll lose weight they say. 

That may be well and good for the bodybuilder trying to get cut for competition. Or the person wanting to lose 1 or 2 pounds so they can go from looking good to looking great. 

But for the person that suffers from obesity, this weight loss system is not only fruitless but can actually lead to greater weight gain. 

That is because this simplistic view of weight gain and retention doesn’t take into account the complex physiological and biochemical triggers that cause the body to store fat.

Obesity is a hormonal disease, and not a simple issue of excess calories. To fix the problem, you have to fix the hormones. 

Certain foods provoke hormonal disturbances. If we can cut out those foods, we can make tremendous progress towards restoring the normal hormonal balance. And as a result, greatly alleviate a person’s weight problem.

Sadly though, many times the only option is to perform bariatric surgery. 

Studies have found that bariatric surgery can be highly effective at facilitating weight loss. It can also reduce the risks of obesity-related disorders such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It can also reduce the obesity-related mortality rate by almost 50%!

For the first 6 months after surgery, what we as doctors’ term ‘stage 1’ recovery, these procedures automatically lead to weight loss. This is because the stomach is simply unable to hold the amount of food that it once could. 

Unfortunately, these benefits are not always sustainable. 

As patients enter ‘stage 2’ the body has begun to compensate for its new arrangement. What’s worse, after surgery, many people revert to old eating habits. This trips the same genetic and endocrine triggers that caused obesity in the first place. 

I have always considered it to be a tragedy when someone goes through the pain and expense of gastric surgery, only to slip back into old eating habits. In the end, all of their time and money, as well as their doctor’s work go to waste.

To help you avoid this misfortune, I would like to offer this guide to foods to avoid at all costs when in stage 2 bariatric weight loss. I also include some health-promoting, nutrient-packed but delicious alternatives that will keep you slim, trim and satisfied.

Insulin Reaction and Resistance

To truly understand the information provided below, here is a quick primer on how the body works. 

The key factor in controlling weight and avoiding obesity is the hormone insulin. A hormone that is produced in your pancreas. 

In the simplest laymen’s terms, it tells the body what to do with sugars in the bloodstream. When you digest food, your body breaks it down into its useful nutrients. In the case of carbs, it breaks them down into sugars to use for energy.

When sugar levels in the bloodstream rise, the pancreas begins to produce insulin. This, in turn, causes our cells to start burning sugar for energy. 

The excess is stored as fat for later use. Without the insulin trigger or a sufficient insulin reaction, the body stores the excess fuel. As a result, you get out of control weight gain.

On a diet high in complex carbs, protein, and fats this is a gentle ebb and flow as nature intended it to be. 

However, a modern diet high in refined sugars and simple carbs disturbs this process.

In addition, the new eating habits of three large meals plus snacks in between prevents our bodies from executing this natural cycle properly. 

Eating this way, our insulin levels are constantly high. And we experience intermittent insulin spikes to levels that the body was never intended to experience.

Over time, the body builds a resistance to the insulin constantly in our system, in an effort to stay in a state equilibrium. Or in rarer cases slows its production. 

In either case, our system stops working properly. This results in more sugars being stored as fat and this leads to obesity.

To prevent this from happening it is important to avoid foods with a high Glycemic Index (GI) rating. The Glycemic index tells us how quickly certain foods are converted to sugar and passed to the bloodstream causing a spike in our insulin levels. The higher the number, the greater the resulting insulin spike.

Read on for 7 common foods with very high GI ratings that you should avoid at all costs. And what you can replace them with.

7 Foods to Avoid and What You Can Eat Instead


White rice can have a GI as high as 77 and even the supposedly healthier option, brown rice, can run as high as a 72. This puts them in a league very close to that of white bread. 

A much healthier option, in terms of both weight control and overall nutritional value, is either Cauliflower or Broccoli. 

Both are packed with valuable nutrients and due to their complex composition are slow to digest. This leaves you feeling full longer. It also causes a minimal shift in blood glucose (sugar) and insulin levels.


Stated simply, other than some of the Keto Breads on the market there is no ‘good’ bread when it comes to controlling your limpid reactions. The Glycemic Index for white bread can be 77 plus. Wheat bread and even wholemeal bread can be 76 plus or minus. 

Using lettuce or eggs as a wrap as the Japanese do with Tamago are much healthier alternatives. 

Or if you really want to fix up a traditional sandwich, Keto bread, as mentioned before, is also a good choice. Made from coconut or almond flour, Keto breads are not only lower carb, but they can provide many good micronutrients as well. 

Store-bought Keto bread may be more expensive than a regular loaf of bread, but it’s well worth the added cost for your health.


For decades athletes have been told to eat pasta before events. Why? Because it drives up blood sugar levels and promotes the development of triglycerides (fats) in the bloodstream. Their bodies can then use these fats for energy while competing. 

Now, even the top jocks in the world have come to realize that this strategy does more harm than good. And that it negatively impacts their overall performance. 

Now, few if any who are recovering from Bariatric surgery will be competing in sports during their stage 2 recovery period. So, don’t even think about eating pasta. Because it is one of the worst foods you can consume.

If you simply can’t live without your pasta dishes, there are alternatives. Instead of regular noodles, try Zoodles which are noodles made from zucchini. You can also try Shirataki noodles, which are produced by mixing the dietary fiber glucomannan with lime water and freshwater. 

These are both choices that can feed your passion without killing your diet. You also won’t have that classic pasta crash we are all familiar with.


I shoudn’t have to tell you that chips (whether you are talking the American or Brit versions) are one of the worst things you can eat for your overall health. 

Chips are made from processed starch, they are loaded with oil and coated with who knows what additives. Not only can these cause an insulin spike but also attack your entire system like an invading army.

Potato chips, corn chips… it makes little if any difference. These crack foods are designed to be addictive, not healthy. 

Instead, try a low-carb option. For a crispy zero-carb snack treat cheese crisps are a much wiser choice. You can now buy them in many grocery stores. 

But for the healthiest crunch possible, make it yourself! It’s incredibly easy. All you have to do is arrange grated cheddar, asiago mozzarella or parmesan cheese in small piles on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Cook at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about 7 minutes. Let cool and munch. For added spice, you can sprinkle with paprika, garlic or onion powder.

Check out this video for the recipe:


With GI numbers as high as 87, processed cereals are one of the worst things you can put into your body. 

Beyond their high carb content, nearly all of them are loaded with processed sweeteners. These offer no nutritional value and can trigger a major insulin spike. If you’re not conditioned to it, this spike can be severe enough to cause lightheadedness. 

Thankfully, there are a number of low-carb high-fiber cereal alternatives. While they’re not necessary ‘low-carb’, whole grain rolled oats and Muesli based cereals have GI numbers in the 50s. Which is much better. Together with almond milk, they provide a greater amount of nutrition as well. 

An even better option is Chia pudding. Chia contains more calcium than milk. It has more omega-3 than salmon and more antioxidants than blueberries. And, it is super high in protein and fiber. It’s no wonder why Chia seeds are considered by so many to be a superfood. 

There are many pudding recipes available on and offline but the formula is pretty simple. All you need are Chia seeds, almond or coconut milk, stevia or erythritol, vanilla and cinnamon. It is delicious for breakfast or as a snack at any time of the day.

If you want to go the extra mile to make a low-carb version of your favorite cereals you can. Check out this recipe for low-carb cinnamon toast crunch:


Whether you are recovering from obesity or not, deserts are not the wisest choice to make a regular part of your diet. 

However, cakes in particular, are something you should avoid. With  high flour content and sugar-packed icing, cake is a particularly harmful insulin trigger. 

If you must have a dessert with a meal consider strawberries and cream, or a keto mug cake. Keto mug cakes are delicious and can be made in less than five minutes if you use a microwave. 

The ingredient list for whipping them up consists of either almond or coconut flour, cocoa or vanilla depending on your taste, butter, salt, sweetener, baking powder, and an egg. The only equipment you will need is a wire whisk, a coffee mug, and a microwave.

If you have more time, you can always try a delicious Keto cake recipe. One of my favorites is this Starbucks lemon cake copycat recipe:

French fries

Potatoes are vegetables, right? So that makes French fries healthy, right? Wrong! Any chef will tell you that the secret to good French Fries is high starch potatoes. That means a strong insulin reaction. 

In restaurants, steamed or grilled veggies are a much better choice. If you have been through bariatric surgery, I would advise against any fast food but definitely avoid their fries. 

None of us are really sure as to what they contain. We only know they’re not good for us on any level. When cooking at home a tasty alternative that is not widely known about is Brussel sprouts cooked with bacon. They are surprisingly tasty.

Winning the Fight

For many, the fight against obesity is a life long struggle that can seem unwinnable. 

I know because I have walked that road myself. Having dealt with all of the emotions and health issues that being morbidly overweight can bring. 

I can fully understand that undergoing bariatric surgery is the course of last resort. But it’s important to remember that even when after surgery, the fight still goes on.

In the first stage of recovery, you have to be careful with what you eat. Your system is being reconfigured and is sensitive. But you are going to lose weight. It is unavoidable. 

The real fight begins in Stage 2 when you once again have to exert your personal willpower and keep control of your diet. If you don’t take steps to adjust your eating habits, you will slowly slip back to where you were.

The secret to maintaining your hard-won weight loss is to keep control of your limpid system. And to avoid things that trigger a strong insulin reaction. 

In other words, this means avoiding carbohydrates and sugars. Because these will disrupt your hormonal system and lead to you re-gain your weight.

The good news is, for every dish that will set you back, there is a healthy alternative. These not only help you keep off the weight but they also strengthen your body and improve your overall health. 

It’s a matter of making the right choices. I promise you it is more than worth it.

This information is intended to help readers be more informed about their health options when speaking with a professional, but it should not be used alone to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Be sure to speak to a qualified doctor before taking any action to make sure that your choices reflect your actual health situation.

Comments (1)

  1. laureen gormley says:

    recipes go too fast

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